A tour around Britain’s top film locations.
It’s August 2010 and Hollywood’s legendary director, Steven Spielberg, is searching for a film location for ‘War Horse’ on Dartmoor in Devon. This wild,windswept location offers plenty of open space and an atmospheric backdrop for filming.
Britain’s landscape and landmarks have often provided the setting for famous films. Recently, Tim Burton filmed ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Anthony House , Torpoint , also in Devon.
The director Danny Boyle made stunning use of a deserted London backdrop for his 2003 film’28 Days Later’ and used a grey and dismal Edinburgh to equal effect in ‘Trainspotting’ in 1996.
The coastal town of Lyme Regis was really put on the map when in 1981 Karel Reisz filmed ‘The French Lietenant’s Woman’ there and who could forget the beautiful and tranquil scenery of Pennan
in Scotland where Bill Forsyth filmed the 1983 film ‘Local Hero’ .
London’s Big Ben is perhaps Britain’s most iconic landmark, appearing famously in the 1978 version of ‘The Thirty- Nine Steps’ and many others since .
Somewhat less dramatic but now, almost equally famous, is the blue door of the house in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant’s character lived in the 1999 romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill ‘ also starring Julia Roberts.
Britain’s film locations vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. The stunning, futuristic-looking biomes of the Eden project in Cornwall were used in the 2002 Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ and the drab Trinity Centre multi-storey car park in Newcastle was made famous by the 1971 film ‘Get Carter’ with Michael Caine.
A final mention must go to Knebworth just outside Stevenage in Hertfordshire . This is a gothic stately home and was comprehensively used in 1984 for the making of ‘The Shooting Party’, James Mason’s final film .However, parts of it have been used time and time again. The owners pride themselves on being ‘film friendly’. The exterior served as Wayne Manor in 1989 for ‘Batman’ starring Michael Keaton.
Britain’s varied , colourful and often off-beat locations offer directors like Spielberg an alternative backdrop to enhance their story – telling and no doubt will continue to do so for many films yet to come.